The epidemic urges the accelerated growth of the Internet of Things, bringing a "chain reaction" to the security of the Internet of Things

In the past two years, the Internet of Things has been "accidentally" driven by the global epidemic and achieved good growth. And we see that major chip manufacturers are paying more and more attention to the security of the Internet of Things. It can be said that with the expansion of IoT applications, security has become a more urgent need for the public. Recently, the e-enthusiast network talked to Mike Ballard, senior regional manager of Microchip terminal equipment. He talked about the market changes brought about by the epidemic and Microchip's latest initiatives in IoT and security.

Mike Ballard, Senior Regional Manager, Microchip Terminal Equipment

Mike Ballard believes that the recent epidemic has caused unprecedented growth in multiple markets in the past year; one of them is the Internet of Things (IoT). A large number of work from home (WFH) tasks, the demand for new medical products, and the recent labor shortage in the United States are all driving new market demand. Labor shortages have forced some companies to study automation to mitigate related risks, including inconsistent output, training delays, and labor cost fluctuations. To meet the needs of these emerging markets, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and security/identity verification will play an important role.

Connectivity is a key component of the Internet of Things, and Microchip has also introduced many Internet of Things connection chips, but Mike Ballard also admitted frankly that connectivity will also bring risks to every IoT application. Whether transmitting sensitive medical data or validating new nodes in industrial applications, all connections will expose the network to potential security vulnerabilities. Without proper security and authentication systems, companies may be unknowingly exposed to hackers or ransomware attacks.

Since the emergence of the Internet of Things technology more than ten years ago, Microchip has been at the forefront of the Internet of Things. Since then, even if it does not play a bigger role than connectivity in the IoT field, security has also played a decisive role. Without proper security measures, the risks associated with connecting products to the Internet may be detrimental to the company, whether from the perspective of liability or brand awareness or from the perspective of stock valuation. Over the years, our products have integrated the most extensive and comprehensive security solutions in the Internet of Things. This leading position allows us to maintain our market leadership through key innovations in cryptography and authentication.

Mike Ballard introduced that ATECC608B is a secure component in Microchip's CryptoAuthenTIcaTIonTM product portfolio, with advanced elliptic curve encryption (ECC) functions. Microchip ATECC608B integrates ECDH (Elliptic Curve Diffie Hellman) security protocol, which is an ultra-secure method that provides key agreement for encryption/decryption in the Internet of Things (IoT) market, and ECDSA (Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm) signature verify. Similar to all Microchip CryptoAuthenTIcaTIon products, the new ATECC608A uses hardware-based ultra-secure encryption key storage and encryption countermeasures to eliminate potential backdoors related to software weaknesses.

According to Microchip's financial report, the company's revenue growth has achieved good results, especially the MCU product line performance is very good. In response to the current shortage of MCUs in the IoT field, Mike Ballard also said that the integration of certain IoT technologies can bring some benefits, but it also limits flexibility and the need for design engineers to leave room for "function expansion". Almost every design iteration of a product requires additional features to be added to the product without the need for a complete redesign. In addition, security requirements are constantly being updated and added (think about how often you must update your phone or laptop due to new security requirements). Without larger memory devices or additional CPU computing power, the design will not be able to meet these new requirements.

But that system-in-package (SIP) or system-on-module (SOM) products usually have no additional memory or computing power overhead because they are only used to perform one task. In the current shortage of semiconductors, it would not be suitable to design a single integrated product containing 2, 3, or 4 silicon chips. Because if there is a shortage of only one of the chips, then the entire SIP or SOM will have the same shortage. And the distributed design with independent external devices enables design engineers to quickly re-layout the circuit board to accommodate another device in their system without the need for a complete redesign.